Classical Music for InspiredPenWeb.com
What exactly do I mean by classical music for this site? It is a broad term. In this website, it has two meanings: first, I refer it to the music of the Classical period, circa 1750-1830, as personified by Franz Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven, and second, I refer classical to 'art' music, as opposed to popular, jazz or folk music.
As interest dictates, my scope mainly covers the earliest music chants to late Romantic Periods. And who can discount J.S. Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi in Baroque, or the madrigals of the Renaissance?
The term 'classical' has two primary meanings. First, it describes the music of the Classical Period, c.1750-1830, personified by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. Second, it can mean music as an 'art' as opposed to popular, jazz, folk, or even Christian music.
Various classical music writers I respect as authority with regards biography of composers, classical music periods, and other related historical datelines may differ in their focus and/or presentation of facts. So what is covered by the Baroque or Classical period? Most classical music writers and/or biographers will give definite dates inclusive, and extend this in classifying some composers into their respective periods. This is a tricky one. An example that immediately comes to mind are two of my favourites: Beethoven and Schubert. True, they died within a year of each other, but I don't necessarily label Beethoven (d. 1827) as Classical composer and Schubert (d. 1828) as Romantic. There is always a period of transition, making it difficult to determine a specific period where a composer belongs.
I'd like to share my timeline definition for some significant masters:
- 1600-1700: Early or Low Baroque (Monteveri - Vivaldi)
- 1680-1750: Late or High Baroque (Bach and Handel)
- 1750-1780: Transition (early Classical, including the Bach children and early Haydn years)
- 1780-1820: High Classical (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven)
- 1810-1840: Early Romantic, High Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Rossini, etc.)
- 1840-1900: High Romantic (Brahms, Wagner, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Puccini, etc.)
- 1895-1945: Transition (Late Romantic, Strauss, Rachmaninov, Kreisler; Modernistic - Schoenberg, Bartok, Stravinsky, etc.)
The Classical period has been called the Golden Age of Music for it was this time that the major forms of classical music were fully developed. These forms are the symphony, concerto, sonata and string quartet.
With classical music, the importance of formal structure in the arts - symmetry and form - was stressed, as against the elaborate ornamentation of the Baroque, giving way to new simplicity and elegance. This does not mean that the emotional content of Baroque was dispensed with, for it was ever present, but was never allowed to block the clarity and formal structure in Classical music.
I'm not after a scholarly pursuit or a dissertation of the life, times and music of a composer or a maestro that I've featured here, although I don't mine an in-depth treatment especially from knowledgeable Mozartians or musicologists who are fellow members of various classical music groups. Mainly, mine is a lighter treatment of entries to whet appetite of my featured composers. A stimulating discussion is splendid. Above all, I want my friends and interested visitors to enjoy and have fun.
26 July 2006
Updated: 3 June 2016